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The Bamboo and the Fern

One day a Man in his 30’s got fed up and decided to quit.

“I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality, in fact I want to quit my life” he said.

Then He went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

“God, Can you give me just one good reason not to quit?” He said. But God’s answer surprised him. “Look around”, God said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”

“Yes” the Man replied. Then God continued,

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds at the same time, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. It is brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the third year, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit! In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit! Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots but 6 months to shoot to the Sky! Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed not just to SURVIVE but to be SIGNIFICANT amidst its peers. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle because I love them too well! ”

God said to Him, “Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots.”I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you. Don’t compare yourself to others. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet, they both make the forest beautiful.

“Your time will come and you will rise high ”

So Keep going!

Bamboo

Once upon a time, in the heart of the Western Kingdom, lay a beautiful garden. And there, in the cool of the day, the Master of the garden would walk. Of all the denizens of the garden, the most beautiful and most beloved was gracious and noble bamboo. Year after year, bamboo grew yet more noble and gracious, conscious of his Master’s love and watchful delight, but modest and gentle withal. And often when the wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would cast aside his grave stateliness, to dance and play right merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the Great Dance of the garden, Which most delighted the Master’s heart.

Now, once upon a day, the Master himself drew near to contemplate his Bamboo with eyes of curious expectancy. And Bamboo, in a passion of adoration, bowed his great head to the ground in loving greeting.

The Master spoke: “Bamboo, Bamboo, I would use you.” Bamboo flung his head to the sky in utter delight. The day of days had come, the day for which he had been made, the day to which he had been growing hour by hour, the day in which he would find his completion and his destiny.

His voice came low: “Master, I’m ready. Use me as Thou wilt.”

“Bamboo,” – The Master’s voice was grave — “I would have to take you and cut you down!”

A trembling of great horror shook Bamboo…”Cut me down ? Me.. who thou, Master, has made the most beautiful in all thy Garden, cut me down! Ah, not that. Not that. Use me for the joy, use me for the glory, oh master, but cut me not down!”

Beloved Bamboo,”—The Master’s voice grew graver still—”If I cut you not down, I cannot use you.”

The garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his proud and glorious head. There was a whisper:

“Master, if thou cannot use me other than to cut me down.. then do thy will and cut”.

“Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I would cut your leaves and branches from you also”.

“Master, spare me. Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust; but would thou also have to take from me, my leaves and branches too?”

“Bamboo, if I cut them not away, I cannot use you.”

The Sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away. And Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low: “Master, cut away”

“Bamboo, Bamboo, I would yet… split you in two and cut out your heart, for if I cut not so, I cannot use you.”

Then Bamboo bowed to the ground: “Master, Master… then cut and split.”

So did the Master of the garden took Bamboo…
and cut him down
and hacked off his branches
and stripped off his leaves
and split him in two…
and cut out his heart.

And lifting him gently, carried him to where there was a spring of fresh sparkling water in the midst of his dry fields. Then putting one end of the broken Bamboo in the spring and the other end into the water channel in His field, the Master laid down gently his beloved Bamboo, And the spring sang welcome, and the clear sparkling waters raced joyously down the channel of bamboo’s torn body into the waiting fields. Then the rice was planted, and the days went by, and the shoots grew and the harvest came.

In that day Bamboo, once so glorious in his stately beauty, was yet more glorious in his brokenness and humility. For in his beauty he was life abundant, but in his brokenness he became a channel of abundant life to his Master’s world.